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Vat Promise Stays On Hold

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE government has to clean up the “mess” left behind by the former administration before it can make good on key campaign pledges like the repeal of value added tax on certain items, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said yesterday.

Mr Newbold stressed that Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has not abandoned his campaign pledge to repeal VAT on breadbasket items at a press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister.

photo

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

“He (Dr Minnis) still intends to live up to those promises made,” Mr Newbold said, “again when you hear from the minister of finance on any number of occasions, you all are always talking to him. He has to clean up what the government found, what was found, there was a mess and that has to be cleaned up before the prime minister goes and says we’re going to repeal VAT on breadbasket items.”

Before the election, Dr Minnis promised the FNM would remove VAT on breadbasket items, education, water and light bills, medicine, healthcare and insurance.

However, in the Speech from the Throne, read at the opening of Parliament in May, it was noted that the government intends to reduce VAT on breadbasket items, but not to repeal the tax on these items, or the other areas repeatedly mentioned by Dr Minnis.

Yesterday, Mr Newbold said: “No, that would be irresponsible, it would probably add to the difficulty that we have now. No, the situation has to be cleaned up. The prime minister assures me, as he assures the Bahamian people, he’s committed to live up to all those promises he made on the campaign trail, including repealing VAT on breadbasket items.”

Moving on to other matters, Mr Newbold underscored that Attorney General Carl Bethel will not recuse himself from any of the recent court cases for alleged bribery involving former MPs.

Mr Newbold advised that Mr Bethel would not be making any public statements on any law enforcement matters, adding that press communication going forward would likely be restricted to his Senate contributions.

He flagged the role of the attorney general as mandated by the Bribery Act.

“As the attorney general, (Mr Bethel) he must authorise all matters related to alleged bribery,” he said.

“He’s presented with the result of any investigation and in fact those investigations cannot be pursued without the approval of the attorney general.

Mr Newbold continued: “Further the attorney general will not be making any public comment on law enforcement matters, and I’m sure you can imagine that any comment from the attorney general would end up as ‘exhibit A’ in any trial that possibly results from any of these investigations.

“You want a statement from the AG it will probably come from him in the Senate.

“I like to note that the AG is also guided by the director of prosecutions before signing off on any incipient prosecution, and his signature on that fiat is the first thing that the judge is going to look for.”

Comments

birdiestrachan 2 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Newbold and his government will do well to state what the deficit really is. The central bank knows but the FNM Government has another story. roc wit doc also promised free University education, it is to bad for those who believed him like Bains Town being a tax free zone. Talk is really cheap and mouth can say anything and it does. especially when there is the desire for power at any cost.

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justthefactsplease 2 years, 11 months ago

Maybe you should pay more attention to what you read. The Central Bank's figures are up to the end of March which means the DO NOT give they whole picture. It is not inconceivable that the government either spent or contracted to spend the balance in the month before the election. We all know they were giving out exorbitant contracts all around.

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BahamasForBahamians 2 years, 11 months ago

Reneging on promises already I see.

We should expect VAT Repeal, Over the Hill tax free zones and free education in 2021.. Just in time for the 2022 elections..

Lol so much for a new day in The Bahamas.

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TalRussell 2 years, 11 months ago

Comrades! This is perhaps NOT why voters tooks Minnis at his word. Come the first by-election - pay attention not repeat the same voting error as on May 10, 2017? I guess it never was about a matter of Trusting, Minnis's word?
That by-election can turn into a major change of course for the red shirts as a viable party?

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John 2 years, 11 months ago

Next to reducing the national debt and putting a harness on government spending, the new government must move swiftly to reduce the cost of living and the tax burden on the ordinary citizens. Since the introduction of VAT many businesses have lost their ability to turn a profit and many have responded by increasing prices. But since there is no real growth in the economy, increased prices only means that more of the same money has less purchasing power and consumers are getting less value for their dollar. If fact food prices on some family islands are less than in New Providence and Freeport because the stores are family run and operated and so the labor costs can be kept down. The cost of living in New Providence And Grand Bahama is in bearable.

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birdiestrachan 2 years, 11 months ago

smarty pants so you say the central bank figures is until the end of March. so during April and until May 9th the PLP government spent 215 million dollars. If you believe that . then good for you. but not for the Bahamas.

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SP 2 years, 11 months ago

PM Sheriff Minnis is unquestionably on the case!

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